TAMPA, Fla. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting Tuesday to discuss Pfizer’s COVD-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
“There are a lot of efforts already ongoing to try to you know streamline vaccination,” said Dr. Carina Rodriguez, Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of South Florida.
Getting younger kids vaccinated for COVID-19 has been the goal for many health experts.
“Children can acquire COVID, can transmit COVID so that’s why it’s so important to actually expand the vaccination to the younger children as well,” said Rodriguez.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued their authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11.
Now the CDC’s vaccine advisors are meeting to review all the safety data to give the final recommendation before children can get those shots.
“Likely it is happening an approval of this vaccine in children and that will give us another way to really prevent COVID and expand the vaccination in younger children as well,” said Rodriguez.
The vaccine for younger kids isn’t the same as the regular shot.
“This Pfizer vaccine is different than the adult dose. This is a pediatric dose so it’s one-third of the dose,” said Dr. Michael Teng, Virologist and Associate Professor at USF Health.
If authorized, this would be two microdoses administered three weeks apart for kids 5-11.
The CDC already authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 and it’s approved for people 16 and older.
Doctors say kids had mostly mild side effects in the clinical trials, similar to adults they saw more side effects after the second dose like:
Soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site
There have been some rare instances of Myocarditis in kids, which is an inflammation of the heart.
“it’s a very, very rare potential association with the vaccine and in fact the incidents of Myocarditis after you’ve been infected with the virus is much, much higher. The other really important thing to know is the cases where we have seen this in adolescents, it’s almost exclusively been a very mild case,” said Dr. Lee Savio Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Pfizer is already shipping doses in anticipation of authorization.
The Biden administration says it has secured enough vaccine supply to vaccinate 18 million younger children.
Pediatricians and pharmacies have already started placing their orders for the child dose.
Vaccines could be administered as soon as the CDC signs off.
“There is a lot of work being done to really facilitate the access to the community as soon as possible after approval,” said Rodriguez.